Refurb iMac Pro or high end 2019 iMac?

Refurb iMac Pro or high end 2019 iMac?

  • Refurb iMac Pro

    Votes: 29 60.4%
  • 2019 iMac (high end)

    Votes: 19 39.6%

  • Total voters
    48

ysuee

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 19, 2017
34
9
Cleveland, OH
I’ve waited for the the 2019 iMacs, and planned on going for an i9 config with the 1TB SSD but realized I was in the mid to upper $3Ks very quickly.

I know the base iMac Pro has some better standard design features (cooling, ports, video card, 10g Ethernet... even the FaceTime camera is 1080p vs 720p on the standard iMac) and am interested to see a vote and thoughts on the comparison.



The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)

Appreciate the feedback.
 
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spaceblaster

macrumors newbie
Mar 30, 2019
2
0
I’ve waited for the the 2019 iMacs, and planned on going for an i9 config with the 1TB SSD but realized I was in the mid to upper $3Ks very quickly.

I know the base iMac Pro has some better standard design features (cooling, ports, video card, 10g Ethernet... even the FaceTime camera is 1080p vs 720p on the standard iMac) and am interested to see a vote and thoughts on the comparison.



The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)

Appreciate the feedback.
I’m facing the same decision as well. I’m wondering which of these machines is more future proof.

The only my drawback to the iMac Pro (that I can think of) is that the base refurbished model only comes with 32 GB of RAM (and it is apparently very difficult to upgrade the iMac Pro’s RAM yourself), while the iMac’s RAM is easily upgradable yourself.

Bear in mind, the iMac Pro’s RAM is ECC and the iMac’s RAM is non-ECC.
 

willentrekin

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2013
233
164
US
I’m wondering which of these machines is more future proof.
I don't think there's any such thing. I'm using a 2014 Mac mini that still runs fairly well, though it seems like Safari is slowing a bit. Still, I use it most for Photoshop, Pages/Word, and Vellum, and it still runs those like a champ (mostly).

Have I noticed some slowdown? Sure. Like I said, Safari could be more smooth; on a fresh reboot it sometimes takes a minute. Probably a cache to clear somewhere.

I'm looking forward to upgrading to the new Mac mini, but feel like I don't need to quite yet. Which means I'm still getting good performance from a machine I bought refurbished a few years ago.

Mileage varies. Purchase accordingly.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68020
Jan 19, 2015
2,486
907
Oregon, USA
I’ve waited for the the 2019 iMacs, and planned on going for an i9 config with the 1TB SSD but realized I was in the mid to upper $3Ks very quickly.

I know the base iMac Pro has some better standard design features (cooling, ports, video card, 10g Ethernet... even the FaceTime camera is 1080p vs 720p on the standard iMac) and am interested to see a vote and thoughts on the comparison.

The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)
Appreciate the feedback.
It is hard to vote without knowing how you will use the the computer.

The iMac Pro is an excellent, powerful computer. If you can afford the $4249 refurb Pro and do video and use Adobe software for editing then it is the best choice. A loaded iMac can do those tasks, but it will take more time.

My preference would be the iMac Pro. I have never been unhappy with too much, but have regretted not having enough.
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,394
788
I’ve waited for the the 2019 iMacs, and planned on going for an i9 config with the 1TB SSD but realized I was in the mid to upper $3Ks very quickly.

I know the base iMac Pro has some better standard design features (cooling, ports, video card, 10g Ethernet... even the FaceTime camera is 1080p vs 720p on the standard iMac) and am interested to see a vote and thoughts on the comparison.



The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)

Appreciate the feedback.


The iMac becomes the better buy when you wait even a couple months. You end up with places like B&H putting them on sale with no state tax so basically you can end up with saving an additional $400.

Personally I couldn't go with the iMac Pro out of principal. I mean think about it, they started selling new iMac Pros for $4000-$4500 15 months ago and now because an update iMac came out you might end up picking up a refurb for the same price as it was new over a year ago? This is like a genius pricing strategy by Apple...their new item is so high that you are scooping up their old item for more money and its the same price that it was going for new over a year ago.
 
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mam8dg

macrumors newbie
Mar 20, 2019
16
15
I am having a similar debate between a refurb 10-core iMac Pro w/ 64gb ram and a maxed out 8-core i9 iMac w/ 128gb OWC ram. Even though the iMac is a better bang for your buck, I am leaning pretty heavily toward the iMac Pro. I think the IMP's cooling system, extra TB3 ports, T2 chip, and faster SSD make it a more robust system.

FYI - if you aren't in Cali, you can pick up a tax-free base model refurb iMac Pro that is eligible for Applecare for $4000 - https://ipowerresale.com/product/27-imac-pro-8-core-3-2-5k-late-2017-space-gray-2/?

No affiliation, I just came across it as I was doing my own research.
 
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AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
757
579
The thermal situation on the new i9 iMac seems pretty good if you read the first reviews. So that might be not the problem. On the other hand you have no Quick Sync with the XEON CPU's which might be a disadvantage if you cannot use the Vega for this...
 

adamk77

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2008
510
149
I’ve waited for the the 2019 iMacs, and planned on going for an i9 config with the 1TB SSD but realized I was in the mid to upper $3Ks very quickly.

I know the base iMac Pro has some better standard design features (cooling, ports, video card, 10g Ethernet... even the FaceTime camera is 1080p vs 720p on the standard iMac) and am interested to see a vote and thoughts on the comparison.



The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)

Appreciate the feedback.
That's a tough decision. I think I would go with the Pro if the difference is $500 or less.

If Apple did offer an upgrade route from the iMac to the iMac Pro specs, this is what I'm thinking:
  • Vega 56 (it's $150 extra to go from 64 to 64x on the Pro, so I suspect if Apple were to offer the 48 on the Pro it would be conservatively $200+ to go from the 48 to 56)
  • ECC memory (32 GB of ECC goes for $260-$300, non-ECC for $200 -- Apple would probably charge an additional $200+)
  • Better cooling (?? wild guess, but conservatively $200+)
  • Space grey (?)
  • Ports ($100+)
  • 10 GBe (Apple charges $100+ extra for this option on the Mac Mini)
  • 1080p camera ($50+)
That's $850. Though having done this, it's pretty stupid. Because we know exactly how much more Apple thinks the Pro is worth, lol.
 
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Colonel Blimp

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2016
262
293
AFAIK all Apple dealers add your local sales tax at this time :-(
Neither Adorama, nor B&H, nor Expercom (from whom I just ordered my new iMac), nor Small Dog Electronics collect sales tax when shipping to California.

(That list is not meant to be exhaustive; those are simply four dealers I checked out when shopping around.)
 

propower

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2010
719
112
Neither Adorama, nor B&H, nor Expercom (from whom I just ordered my new iMac), nor Small Dog Electronics collect sales tax when shipping to California.

(That list is not meant to be exhaustive; those are simply four dealers I checked out when shopping around.)
Hmmm - I only checked B&H and they add WA state tax
Adorama looks like not
Other two don't know...
Thanks though! At least one option
 

Colonel Blimp

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2016
262
293
The difference between a refurb iMac Pro and the new 2019 iMac is $500-700 depending on configuration. (Even less if configured to the limits)
For me, the difference between that refurbished iMac Pro and my maxed-out 2019 iMac (apart from RAM, which I'll upgrade to 40 GB for US $200 on my own) is US $1,575, and that’s before adding in a cost of an upgrade to the 1TB internal SSD! (Can the iMac Pro’s SSD be upgraded? I’d have thought so, but Other World Computing don’t offer such an upgrade.)

Although the refurbished price is much more attractive and makes the iMac Pro tempting, I’d still have to go with the 2019 iMac (and did) because I need the internal storage of the 3TB Fusion Drive for Boot Camp (which, as supported by Apple, must live on an internal drive).

(A new iMac Pro with a 4TB SSD costs US $4,300 more than my maxed-out 2019 iMac! Yikes!)
 

DonP

macrumors member
May 19, 2005
32
2
Socal
Neither Adorama, nor B&H, nor Expercom (from whom I just ordered my new iMac), nor Small Dog Electronics collect sales tax when shipping to California.
I was going to order an iMac from Expercom but then saw their sales tax policy: "Orders or partial orders shipped to Utah, California, and Massachusetts, Tennessee, and other localities may be subject to applicable sales tax or sales tax reimbursement due to warehouse location."

They did not charge you CA sales tax?
 

dcpmark

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
917
671
I was going to order an iMac from Expercom but then saw their sales tax policy: "Orders or partial orders shipped to Utah, California, and Massachusetts, Tennessee, and other localities may be subject to applicable sales tax or sales tax reimbursement due to warehouse location."

They did not charge you CA sales tax?
Would love to know as well!
 

Colonel Blimp

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2016
262
293
I was going to order an iMac from Expercom but then saw their sales tax policy: "Orders or partial orders shipped to Utah, California, and Massachusetts, Tennessee, and other localities may be subject to applicable sales tax or sales tax reimbursement due to warehouse location."

They did not charge you CA sales tax?
Would love to know as well!
From Expercom Policies (be sure to click on “Sales Terms & Conditions”):

5. TAXES

…For Apple items, ExperCom charges sales tax to shipments to Utah. For all other items, ExperCom charges sales tax for orders shipped to California, and Massachusetts, and Utah.​

At any rate, they did not charge me California sales tax.
 
Last edited:
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EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
776
1,570
I’m sure it’s been said, but you can upgrade the RAM yourself in the 2019, saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

You can’t upgrade crap in the iMac pro.
 

ysuee

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 19, 2017
34
9
Cleveland, OH
I wouldn’t personally have a need for more than the installed 32GB, but you’re right - the iMP is hard to upgrade with an iFixit repairability score of 3/10.
I’ve had multiple iMacs and even the iMac Pro last year (but returned it when an OS bug kept FaceTime from working).
I’m still on the fence. Both iMacs are great. But as soon as I configured a 27” with an i9 and a 1TB SSD I was at ~$3400 after tax.

The iMac Pro is $4k so I’m wondering if I should just ‘bite the bullet’ and spend the additional $600 knowing all the extras I’d get.
 

EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
776
1,570
I wouldn’t personally have a need for more than the installed 32GB, but you’re right - the iMP is hard to upgrade with an iFixit repairability score of 3/10.
I’ve had multiple iMacs and even the iMac Pro last year (but returned it when an OS bug kept FaceTime from working).
I’m still on the fence. Both iMacs are great. But as soon as I configured a 27” with an i9 and a 1TB SSD I was at ~$3400 after tax.

The iMac Pro is $4k so I’m wondering if I should just ‘bite the bullet’ and spend the additional $600 knowing all the extras I’d get.
Are you configuring the i9 with 32 GB RAM from Apple?

If so, don't. Configer it with 8 GB and upgrade to 32 GB RAM yourself. That should save you several hundred dollars.
 

DonP

macrumors member
May 19, 2005
32
2
Socal
From Expercom Policies (be sure to click on “Sales Terms & Conditions”):

5. TAXES

…For Apple items, ExperCom charges sales tax to shipments to Utah. For all other items, ExperCom charges sales tax for orders shipped to California, and Massachusetts, and Utah.​

At any rate, they did not charge me California sales tax.
Just to clarify for anyone wondering, starting today 4/1, ExperCom is charging sales tax on Apple shipments to CA. This change likely effects the other out of state sellers as well. Oh well.
 

dcpmark

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
917
671
Just to clarify for anyone wondering, starting today 4/1, ExperCom is charging sales tax on Apple shipments to CA. This change likely effects the other out of state sellers as well. Oh well.
Oh, that sucks! I ordered on 3/31/19 and my invoice shows no CA tax, but I called today (4/1) to modify it so your post concerned me a bit. But I just checked my updated invoice from today.....no tax, probably because the order date still showed yesterday. Phew! :D
 
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fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,394
788
The iMac Pro is $4k so I’m wondering if I should just ‘bite the bullet’ and spend the additional $600 knowing all the extras I’d get.
Wait a couple months for the first sale and you'll save closer to $1000 when all said and done.
 

Colonel Blimp

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2016
262
293
Wait a couple months for the first sale and you'll save closer to $1000 when all said and done.
I don’t recall ever seeing current-model iMacs discounted by $700 (which is how much of a discount you’d need even with a $300 sales tax savings to reach $1,000) even after nearly two years, let alone two months.
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,394
788
I don’t recall ever seeing current-model iMacs discounted by $700 (which is how much of a discount you’d need even with a $300 sales tax savings to reach $1,000) even after nearly two years, let alone two months.

Depends on some things. IF you can get a iMac Pro for $4000 tax free then the gap closes quite a bit. If you buy a refurbish unit from Apple for $4,249 and pay tax you are talking a BIG gap that varies a bit. If you live in CA thats an additional $400. So it could be $4650 for a refurb iMac living in CA vs $3600 for a iMac from B&H. Though these numbers will vary depending on state you live in and how much you actually can get a iMac Pro for. Not to mention the iMac Pro is a 32 GB machine and while that might not matter now but in 3 years it could seem a bit small for a computer that you bought for $4 grand a few years ago.




Hypothetically speaking
  • 3.6GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • 8GB +32GB Aftermarket Ram
  • Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
Original Price; $3,649.00
Potential Discount -200; $3,449.00
40 GB Ram total(8 GB + 32 GB Ram aftermarket ram) +150 = total $3,599.00
 
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MacRS4

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2010
134
199
London, UK
Some comparison with my iMac Pro in here, including some benchmarks. This is the 8 core i9 vs an 8 core iMac Pro.

[doublepost=1554231514][/doublepost]So. I have the 8 core iMac Pro - my normal 'desk' machine, a 10 core that's a virtualisation host for my operating/finished product, and we have just bought an i9 for somebody else. I've tested the i9.

I'd have bought the i9 over my 8 core iMP if it were available, now I couldn't use it. I would NOT buy it over a 10 core, it just doesn't scale up as well.

Things to be aware of are:

HDD is slower - not massively slow. Writes on the iMP nearer 3GB/s, iMac approx 2GB/s. Read speeds are fairly similar, with the iMP about 10% faster.
You can only plug in ONE 5k monitor on the iMac - I have two plugged in to my iMP.
There's only 2 TB3 ports...I'd struggle with that now as all my storage is TB3, my two monitors are TB3, and I have a TB3 hub plugged in. I'd have probably coped back when I bought the 8 core iMP though, and worked around those issues.
The camera is poor compared to the iMP - I think it's probably 720p?? Should be easy to check.
Speakers aren't as good as the iMP - not much in it thought tbh.
The iMac is quieter than the iMP 8 core and 10 core, but again not a massive amount in it.

If you do a lot of video you could find the iMac will cope better as it has the Quick Sync extensions - the iMP doesn't. The iMP for example sometimes takes longer than my i9 MBP to export, depending on what I'm encoding. Difference is I can still use the iMP for other things at the time - like virtualisation, and other stuff, and barely notice the export going on. Not so much on the MBP.

It's a tough choice really and it comes down to your use cases against budget...but then doesn't everything!
[doublepost=1554231620][/doublepost]Oh. And as for getting the RAM upgrades in the iMP...It was a massive pain. Apple just ended up giving me a new one with the right amount of RAM in it. Eventually got the 10 core upgraded by a local AASP.
 

Colonel Blimp

macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2016
262
293
Some comparison with my iMac Pro in here, including some benchmarks. This is the 8 core i9 vs an 8 core iMac Pro.
I watched your comparison on YouTube a couple of days ago and found it very informative. Thank you!

One minor clarification: you said that you thought Apple might have shrunk the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive. In 2015, Apple shrunk the SSD in the 1 TB Fusion Drive from 128 GB to 24 GB, and then in 2017 enlarged it slightly to 32 GB. The 2 and 3 TB Fusion Drives, however, have always had 128 GB SSDs.

(I can’t bring myself to wade into the toxic sludge of YouTube comments, or I’d have posted this there.) ;-)